The truth is that most people in our world look down on napping.
Why would you take a nap when you could… get more done, make more money, even do something with your kids?
Those are the silent thoughts and judgments many of us make on ourselves and sometimes others.
But as with many things in life there is a paradox that stopping to nap can bring so many benefits than just doing more in your day.
It’s clear that despite our culture’s discouragement against napping that there are some great reasons to nap, with many of them validated by scientific studies.
9 Good Reasons Why You Should Nap
Here are some great reasons that will convince you to enjoy the power of the nap once again:
1. A nap reduces your stress.
By napping in the middle of the day your body gets the chance to slow down and relax. This reduces the stress built up over the course of the day through our job, family, etc… Studies have shown that just laying down for even 10 minutes will reduce stress even if you can’t fall asleep.
2. Taking a nap improves your heart health.
A six-year Greek study found that those who took naps at least 3x per week had a 34% reduced risk of heart-related death. They also found working men had a 64% reduced risk.
3. A nap restores alertness.
Are you having a hard time not dozing off in a meeting or while trying to read? A quick nap can increase alertness and allow you to process information more quickly. If you can’t focus on this blog go take a nap and come back :). A NASA study found that pilots were much more alert after a 40-minute nap.
4. A nap allows for greater patience.
When my wife, Leah, is really tired and the kids are being kids (i.e. loud and having fun) – she will turn to me and say quietly “my brain hurts”. That’s when I know she needs some so I’ll take them while she rests for a bit usually coming back with more patience in her tank. Regardless, of our life situation I think we will find more patience in the tank when we have taken a nap in the middle of a long day.
5. A nap can prevent burnout.
I’m not sure about you but there are times in my life that are just a sprint. They are crazy busy and there just doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. And a nap is a great little boost that you can squeeze into most any day even while life is extra busy. For instance, we recently welcomed a new baby into our family. Are we going to get a full night of sleep for awhile? Not a chance! Can I squeeze a nap into my day? Absolutely. And you can too.
6. A nap helps to boost your immune system.
While there are many factors that create a healthy immune system – studies have shown that a nap can help to do its part especially when it’s been impaired by lack of sleep. My guess is that lack of sleep is a big drain on many of our immune systems. Take a nap and give your body’s immunity against sickness a boost.
7. A nap can boost your creativity.
A nap can boost the functioning of the right side of the brain – the side most responsible for creativity. Problem solvers like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and many others relied on naps to boost their creativity and solve whatever they were working on. Even though we might not be contemplating how to create a light bulb higher creativity can help us solve problems more effectively, parent better, and overcome issues more easily.
8. A long nap improves your memory.
By getting to REM (deep) sleep – the part that refreshes memory, learning, and thinking you can improve your memory. Several studies at Havard and other places have shown that recalling information after good sleep (often a nap) is much more effective. When I’m thankful for the things in life God has given me and don’t forget what He has done and is presently doing I am more content, grateful, and ability to give grace to others. Being well rested truly helps to reflect more often and live in a state of thankfulness.
9. A nap lifts your spirits.
If I am struggling to have a positive outlook on the day or even life in general there’s a good chance I’m tired. Even a short nap of 20-30 minutes can improve my mood for the day and help to refocus. There’s a good chance a quick nap will encourage you as well.
I hope this encourages you to enjoy the lost art of napping again. Or to do it with more frequency. Naps have the power to help us live happier, healthier, and more purpose-filled lives. They allow us to focus on the important over the urgent. And perhaps best of all they can help us to be more selfless with others, ready to serve them out of our reserve of energy.
While napping isn’t a replacement for good sleep it’s a great thing to insert into an otherwise busy day. Do you nap? What are your reasons or tips on naps?
In the future I will dive into different types of naps, more tips to make it successful, kids and napping, and more. What about sleep and naps do you want to know more about?